Of the eight goals Manchester United scored in their Europa League semi-final against Roma, Edinson Cavani scored four of them and set up a further three.
The Uruguayan striker is enjoying a rich vein of form and it looks like the 34-year-old is tempted to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
But will a strike force that combines Cavani with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood be good enough to challenge for the top honours?
Edinson Cavani has been excellent for Manchester United in recent weeks as they have made it through to the final of the UEFA Europa League against Villarreal
It increasingly looks as though Cavani will be part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans next season
But the question remains over whether United need to splash out on a top-class striker such as England captain Harry Kane in order to compete for the major prizes
There is an argument that in order to take the next step and compete properly in the Premier League title race and the Champions League, United must splash out on a world-class striker – and Harry Kane is top of the shopping list.
So do Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need to go out and sign a new forward or does Cavani’s form suggest they have enough firepower as it is?
Sportsmail’s ADAM SHERGOLD and LUKE AUGUSTUS offer both sides of the argument.
WHY UNITED MUST SIGN KANE
BY ADAM SHERGOLD
Edinson Cavani has proved a wonderful signing for Manchester United, the Uruguayan striker enjoying a shimmering Indian summer in his fine career.
But for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team to take the next step and challenge for the major honours rather than merely the Europa League, big money needs to be spent on a new striker this summer.
That’s not to say that Cavani should be let go. A one-year contract extension should be offered to the 34-year-old if he wants it, a just reward for his 14 goals.
It would be an insult, however, to the tangible progress United have made under Solskjaer over the past 12 months if the Glazer family didn’t back him in the market.
Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is another striker set to be in serious demand this summer
Kane cuts a dejected figure as Tottenham lose out to Man City in the Carabao Cup final
United are a top quality centre forward and centre half away from giving Manchester City a real run for their money in next season’s Premier League and going deep in the Champions League.
And that forward needs to be either Harry Kane or Erling Haaland. Given the intense competition and inevitable bidding war for Haaland, you’d say Kane is the more likely option.
England’s captain has enjoyed another excellent season with 31 goals and 16 assists for Tottenham. He has added further strings to his bow by becoming a more rounded forward.
He is, at the age of 27, the complete centre forward and entering his prime. Yet he still doesn’t have a single piece of silverware to his name.
Spurs’ meek defeat to City in the Carabao Cup final must have confirmed to Kane that if he doesn’t agitate for a move away soon then he will never fulfil his ambitions in the game.
Kane must realise that in order to achieve his ambitions he must leave Tottenham soon
United can make a strong case to him. Solskjaer can argue to Kane that he will be the missing piece, their No 1 striker for the next five years with the service to score at least 30 times a season.
If United add a reliable 30-goal striker to their ranks, they will be in the mix for every trophy.
Fail to move for Kane now and stick with Cavani and Anthony Martial for another year and chances are United will completely lose out and set themselves back years.
As Rio Ferdinand said in the BT Sport studio on Thursday night: ‘I worry about what you do if you let Kane and Haaland go somewhere else.’
And as Paul Scholes added: ‘United are a club that need to sign a proper centre forward for the next five years. I’m talking a Kane or Haaland.
‘Cavani will slow down, fitness-wise, injury-wise (he) might not be great.’
Rio Ferdinand (left) says United cannot miss the chance to secure a big name for the future while Paul Scholes does not see any of United’s other current forwards becoming strikers
Exactly. Yes, Daniel Levy will drive a hard bargain for Kane, asking upwards of £100million. But this is precisely what United’s endless commercialisation is for.
There’s also the potential factor of the Glazers trying to quell European Super League fan fury in the summer with a big-name capture.
But it’s also fundamentally about where United want to go.
Are they content to plod along in the top four, getting within touching distance but not quite touching the silverware, as Pep Guardiola’s City create a Fergie-style dynasty of success with a Kane or Haaland banging in the goals?
Kane guarantees any team 30-plus goals per season and could take United to the next level
Or do they want to go toe-to-toe for the title with City and Chelsea and Liverpool; compete for the Champions League with Bayern, Real and PSG?
When it comes to scoring goals, Kane is as close to a safe bet as it’s possible to get in football. He can take United to the next level. They must go all-out to sign him.
WHY UNITED SHOULD STICK WITH CAVANI
BY LUKE AUGUSTUS
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and both Manchester United and Edinson Cavani must remember this.
This unlikely partnership has blossomed into something special with the 34-year-old reinvigorated at Old Trafford and with the club benefitting tremendously from it.
There is no denying Harry Kane’s world-class abilities; he and Robert Lewandowski are the two best No 9s in the world.
However, with a reported £150million price-tag – and in a transfer market that is still reeling from the impact of coronavirus on club finances everywhere – United are arguably better off reinvesting that money on more glaring holes in the squad than Tottenham’s talisman.
Cavani delivered again for Manchester United with two sublime goals in Rome on Thursday
The 34-year-old showed he is the main man up front and United’s most natural goalscorer
Just think about it for a second. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Red Devils this season, as their eight across their Europa League semi-final two legs with Roma proved. It’s keeping them out that has cost them.
A centre back and a holding central midfielder player are two priority positions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this summer if they are to challenge Premier League champions-elect Manchester City next season as well as to fare better than the Champions League group stages.
The likes of Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde have been linked as potential centre-back signings this summer and they will cost north of £50m, while West Ham’s Declan Rice has a valuation of at least £70m if United are to try to make him their holding midfielder.
One of those centre backs plus Rice would result in a total of £120m. That’s a lot of money but would enable Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to play a more expansive and possession-based brand of football.
United should spent their money on a quality holding midfielder like West Ham’s Declan Rice
Signing a new centre half such as Jules Kounde of Sevilla should be United’s main priority
For example, he would likely feel more secure playing Paul Pogba as one of the two midfield pivots alongside Rice – which would therefore free up a space in the wide areas for someone else.
Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves also believes United should keep Cavani and reinvest elsewhere on the squad.
Speaking in the BT Studio during punditry duty after United’s clash with Roma, Hargreaves outlined: ‘Every ex-Man United player or fan wants Harry Kane or Haaland but the money that will cost now in the climate is just not realistic.
‘I think Cavani has done a wonderful job. Get him to sign a new deal and obviously there are no transfer payments there. Obviously he’s on big wages. I think they can spend that Haaland, Kane money on potentially three other players.’
Owen Hargreaves feels United should give Cavani a new deal and spend big money elsewhere
Cavani has scored 14 goals in 34 appearances for the club since making his debut in October and his influence on and off the pitch is unquestioned. So, why change that?
His movement off the ball is world class and he has given Solskjaer’s side a dimension they have lacked up front during his entire managerial reign there.
The Uruguayan has the approval of his team-mates, which is a clear indicator of his value to his peers too.
Speaking before the second leg against Roma, Bruno Fernandes told BT Sport: ‘The most important thing with Edi for me is not the movement he does or the goals he scores but the way he helps off the ball.
‘People like to see numbers so see how much he runs each game – he’s normally in the top three and he’s a striker!
Cavani has built an impressive understanding with Bruno Fernandes (right) at United
‘You see how he helps us defending, you see when he or someone else loses the ball he tries to recover it straight away and press.
‘The mentality he has is passing to us and he has to keep passing it to us because he has the right mentality to be a champion and we have to learn from that.
‘Everyone can see his technical qualities because he made history everywhere else he’s played and nobody can delete history.’
Mason Greenwood is huge beneficiary in learning under Cavani’s tutelage. The way Cavani stuck up for him after a spat with Roma defenders on Thursday night was a joy to see.
Now United must put up a fight and keep their No 7 for next season too.
Cavani jumped in to defend his team-mate Mason Greenwood from Roma defenders
The Uruguayan was furious as Rick Karsdorp and Gianluca Mancini confronted Greenwood